The Grind in Girdwood prepares for another ski season

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 5:56 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Fresh snow on the ground means customers are about to be swarming inside The Grind cafe in Girdwood after their off-season.

“In between summer and winter it definitely drops off quite a bit,” said John O’Leary, the owner and roaster at The Grind. “It’s mostly, like how we sustain ourselves, is through locals.”

But despite having their regulars, O’Leary says for hours every day he will see his coffee shop empty.

“When we’re in a transition, everyone kind of hunkers down,” O’Leary said.

However, this year, alongside missing customers, he is lacking another key component to his cafe — staff to keep cups filled with coffee.

With another tourism season fast approaching, O’Leary said keeping orders filled is going to be a struggle. O’Leary said he expects once the season starts that he will have lines out the door.

“That’s where it’ll start affecting us, because we’ll be at a rush, but low in personnel, low in staff here,” O’Leary said. “So it’s kind of a struggle, kind of a juggle sometimes, but for the most part, you know, we don’t need a lot of people to run this place. Like right now there’s just three of us, but ideally we’d like to have five or six. It’s just been, since COVID it’s been hard to fill that gap.”

But he says his management team has a strong system in place to make sure nobody is overworked.

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